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    Boscombe store licence revoked for selling illegal cigarettes

    D&A Minimarket in Christchurch Road, Boscombe. Photo: Google Street View

    A convenience store in Boscombe twice caught selling illegal cigarettes has had its permission to sell alcohol revoked.

    Christchurch Road-based D&A Minimarket was stripped of its licence by a BCP Council licensing sub-committee meeting on Tuesday after Dorset Police requested a review.

    Councillor David Flagg said they had “no confidence” that the illegal sales would be stopped.

    Hundreds of thousands of cigarettes were seized by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) last year during joint operations with Dorset Police.

    In the wake of this, two reviews were called by police licensing officers in a bid to dissuade businesses from stocking smuggled goods.

    Both, one for D&A Minimarket and the other for the former Polski Sklep shop in Lansdowne Road, were considered on Tuesday.

    Police licensing sergeant Gareth Gosling said: “This [the sale of smuggled cigarettes and tobacco] undermines genuine business, it undermines the [tax] revenue and it can damage people’s health.

    “It really needs to be emphasised how much of a problem this is and this operation demonstrated how much of a problem it is in Bournemouth.

    “This should be taken seriously – there should be consideration given to revocation [of the licences].”

    Polski Sklep was found to be selling “1,520 smuggled cigarettes and 1l of smuggled alcohol” when it was visited by HMRC in November.

    But the business was sold to Che Hui Tsang in December to be turned into a Chinese supermarket.

    Councillors said they were “concerned” by what had happened at Polski Sklep but were satisfied by the change in ownership and agreed not to revoke the licence.

    However, it was suspended for three months to allow “inappropriate” references to it being a Polish supermarket to be removed.

    They then agreed to revoke the alcohol licence for D&A Minimarket after being told it had been found selling almost 20,000 illegal cigarettes and 5.63kg of smuggled tobacco across two visits.

    Police requested a review after the second in November.

    But despite the threat of having its licence revoked no representative of the business attended Tuesday’s meeting

    Council licensing officer Sarah Rogers said there had not been any contact from the store’s management since the review process started.

    Cllr Flagg said the actions of the business “undermined” efforts to prevent crime and disorder and said there were three main areas of concern.

    He said: “The first is that on two separate visits to the premises by the police, HMRC and Trading Standards large seizures of cigarettes and tobacco were made.

    “The second is the sheer volume of the goods seized.

    “And the third is that the sub-committee has no confidence that these illegal activities won’t happen again as there have been no representations from the premises licence holder.”

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